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When the Smartphone Changed the World

When the Smartphone Changed the World

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When the Smartphone Changed the World - HISTORY

The mobile phone has not only made an impact on our society, it has made a crater. This technology has not just changed our daily lives, it has also changed many aspects of our culture.


Once the mobile phone began to go down in price, the average American began to see the need for the technology. As the mid 90’s approached the world so did a change in the world of fashion. The mobile phone had found a permanent place in clothing. Pants manufactures began placing pockets that were reserved for storing the mobile phone. [1]


Clothing was not the only thing that was going to change with the popularity of mobile phone technology. Storage places for the object began to pop up everywhere. Book-bags, purses, briefcases etc began installing reserved spaces for the phone to be stored.


Mobile phones became so popular they went straight to the big screen in Hollywood. These phones began to appear in movies to first show the wealth of the character, but as they began to become more and more apart of our everyday life, it becomes hard to find a modern day movie that does not have a mobile phone. As technology increases in life, it also increases in movies mobile phones are now being used as bomb detonators and GPS locators instead of just a quick way to make a phone call. In 2004 a mobile phone became the whole premise of a movie titled, Cellular. [2]


Just like movies, television has also jumped on the band wagon when promoting mobile phones. Yes, they are found in almost every television show like many other technologies, but the mobile phone became so popular in the early nineties that televisions shows like, Saved by the Bell actually coined the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X the “Zac Morris Phone” because he was the first one to carry a mobile phone. This show was also one of the first to present the public with a major downside to using a mobile phone. [3]

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/I5uPHr65QV0" wmode="transparent" /]

Commercials have been changed as well because of this technology by not only having mobile phones in their advertisements, but also centering the advertisement on the cellular phone itself. One cannot turn on the TV without seeing a mobile phone commercial.

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The office will never be the same since if felt the impact of mobile phones. Before one would have to check their email, talk on the phone, organize their rolodex with every one of their business affiliate’s numbers, etc. Now this all can be done from the palm of your hand. Mobile phones have evolved into the mecca of workplace organization. On a new “Smartphone”, one can do all of these activities, plus find the directions and menu of where everyone is going for lunch and finally check their children’s Facebook status to see how their school day is going, all before they even get to work. [4]


When music began it was not even given to the public to keep, it was played on a radio in their homes. Now a days one does not even have to leave their house to buy the new Rihanna CD all they have to do is download it off a website. Where do mobile phones fit in on this you might ask? Now many mobile phones are equipped with a MP3 player so that the user can listen to their favorite song and even use file as a ringtone for when their friend calls. This technology has even gone as far in replacing lighters at concerts. [5]


Since the invention of the portable phone, the world has seen a new disease when it comes to addiction. Technological addictions may not be as bad as a drug or alcohol addiction, but it still something one should keep tabs on in their life. The mobile phone has become America’s addiction since the early nineties, but now a word has been invented for the disease…Crackberry.

Whether it is bidding on an item on Ebay or checking your bank account balance, the impact that this technology is making on our lives in endless. It is hard to actually find something that the mobile phone has not changed. The only question left is what is going to happen next?

How mobile phones have changed our lives

James Bond has always been quick to adopt the latest technology, but most TV detective series from the 1970s and 80s seem somewhat comical today. The police are not able to catch the crook, because they are not able to find a phone booth, and the hero has to struggle for hours because he can’t make a phone call. This makes today’s viewers want to get out of their chairs and yell at the TV:

“Why don’t you use your mobile phone, you idiot?”

Mobile phones have quickly become taken as much for granted as electricity or central heating. We really don’t remember quite how life was before mobile phones existed.

No one expected it to be like this. When mobile phones were introduced, they were viewed as an exclusive form of telephone service that might possibly suit certain mobile workforces, such as craftsmen, photographers and repairmen.

But everyone underestimated the importance that mobile phones would assume for person-to-person communications. In the 1870s, when the telephone was introduced it was also regarded as a luxury for businessmen, doctors, craftsmen, etc. It was a device of dubious usefulness that certainly could not compete with the telegraph, which of course conveyed explicit written messages, not just idle chat. Before long, however, people began to find uses for the telephone, particularly among family and friends.

The telephone eliminated distance, while the mobile phone released people from the confines of space in much the same manner as the train, the car and the airplane. Above all, however, mobile phones provided freedom for those who previously had little power. The boss can no longer keep tabs on everyone. Young people can phone their friends without their parents knowing.

The mobile phone is now a part of our popular culture. New customs, rituals and routines are developing around what is being used every day. In the pre-industrial society people sang songs about planting and harvesting. In rock music, from the fifties and onwards, cars and motorbikes have been recurring themes. It is only natural that nowadays, in the post-industrialist world of IT we are listening to songs about mobile phones. Right now, in February of 2001, one of the biggest selling songs is Backstreet Boys’ “The Call”, which is about a mobile phone call.

The mobile phone has changed our attitudes and expectations. If people are late to a meeting, they are expected to notify others by calling on their mobile phones. It is no longer necessary to agree on when and where to meet. People can just call each other on their mobile phones and say where they are at the moment.

Probably the most interesting phenomenon, however, is that the mobile phone has freed us from the constraints of space. Through call forwarding from a fixed telephone, a phone call can go almost anywhere. After talking with your best friend for ten minutes, you realize that he is in Dubai. This, in turn, means that excuses, such as “He’s in Paris for two weeks and cannot be reached,” are no longer acceptable. What do you mean, he can’t be reached? Doesn’t he have his phone switched on?

People seem to be born to have a mobile phone in their hands. It is of course just an unfortunate circumstance that mobile phones were not available at the beginning of our existence on the savanna. If they had been, then man surely would have phoned home to the cave and said: “Light the fire, honey, because I’ll be home soon with half a lion.”

In the final analysis, mobile telephony is not a matter of radio waves and electronics, but rather human communication. We need to talk to each other, and that need has been paramount from the day we stood up on two legs. Communication is vital for our survival. Without talking to each other, we would quickly be eaten up by tigers, wolves or our own loneliness.

Increased Communication

As the mobile phone has continued to evolve to provide us with constant internet access, there are a number of benefits that have come from this, but one of the most important is communication.

With a number of applications allowing you a BYOD service for both work and personal phone calls, you can have constant communication with both colleagues and family and friends without the need for multiple mobile phones.

In addition to this, there are a number of other applications such as messenger, Whatsapp and Facebook and Skype that allow you to communicate with family on the other side of the world with a simple push of a button.

Google announces it will offer the Android mobile operating system for free. Anyone can use it and change it. By default it uses Google services for search, email and video.

Asked if there will be a Google phone, head of Android, Andy Rubin, replies: "There will be thousands of Google phones – some you like, some you don't."Microsoft's Ballmer says "We'll have to see what Google does. Right now they have a press release, we have many, many millions of customers, great software, many hardware devices, and they're welcome in our world!"

Mobile phones have changed the world, for better or worse

E asy to frighten the young: tell them what the world was like before mobile phones. Spirit them back to a life before midnight on 1 January 1985, when the first UK mobile call was made on a Transportable Vodafone VT1 that weighed 11lb if you’d wanted one yourself, you’d have had to stump up around two grand. Be aware that what seems most shocking to you will not have the same impact on them that well-worn recitation of the hour-long trudge along a dark country road in the rain to call the AA from a smelly phonebox that took coppers might still be vivid in your mind, but they’ll be drifting off, wondering how to circumvent Uber surge pricing when they’re pinging from club to club on Saturday night.

Tell them there was no Uber. Tell them that when you went out with your mates, you made cast-iron plans as much as three weeks in advance via numerous landline telephone calls, each of which was subject to sudden interruption from bill-obsessed parents or housemates eager to get on the blower themselves. Tell them that if your rendezvous fouled up, your options were limited: scrawl on the wall of bus stop or tube station (those whiteboards are a relatively recent innovation) traipse around town, forlornly peering into bars where your friends weren’t leave touchingly hopeful messages with helpful but nosy mums (“If he does call, Mrs Arbuthnot, could you say I’m in the cafe opposite the cinema and there’s another showing at 9.30? Thank you very much. Yes, Dad’s much better, thank you”). And this is just for a casual night out: imagine if romance was in the offing.

If parental concern and sexual appetite – keeping tabs on your kids’ whereabouts on the one hand and forming and maintaining relationships on the other – have been two of the principal drivers of the mobile phone revolution, the field has long since broadened.

When mobiles began to become commonplace, the difference they made to our lives was stark and simple we could communicate important information, often of a time-sensitive nature, without being either at home or work, and without relying on the availability of a free phone line. The annoyance they created – the mundane domestic detail loudly recounted on a packed bus, the wrong-footing sight of someone apparently jabbering to themselves as they walked down the street – was worth it. And pretty soon, we got turned on by the additional innovation of conveying that news in text form – no need even to speak to a human being!

But what is your phone doing now? As it’s the beginning of January, mine has just chirped to remind me to make another alfalfa and wheatgrass juice, though fortunately it has a mute button. The last alert I had was to let me know a very disappointing football result, thereby proving that being kept in the loop is not always all it’s cracked up to be. But like most people, apart from a dwindling band of smartphone refuseniks, I would find plenty more cheery diversion if I were to linger among the apps for a while – music, podcasts, social media, photographs, games. I might do a spot of work on a train, reorganise my diary, blitz my emails, tidy up my fiscal loose ends. It would only be when my train arrived that I would realise I hadn’t opened my book or gazed out of the window.

If the book I failed to open had been a novel set in the last few years, it would almost certainly have featured mobile technology, unless it was deliberately and self-consciously refusing to do so. If its plot was powered by any sort of intrigue – criminal, political, sexual – it would be unthinkable were the characters not to interact virtually, and probably, given the relative novelty of the device, crucially so.

Mobile phones have changed culture and continue to do so not merely in the nature of the material produced, but as a means of distribution beyond the obvious. A perfectly named example: the compilation album entitled Music From Saharan Cellphones, on which the featured tracks have been transferred from mobile phone via Bluetooth in northern Mali, where music fans habitually and enthusiastically swap and spread music. It’s available in this country, headbendingly enough, on vinyl.

For music-mad residents of North Africa, sharing music by mobile telephony is a creative response to an obvious situation: a way to connect with culture being produced in sparsely populated areas without an established network of exchange. For me, in north London, it’s an exciting piece of eavesdropping: I’m unlikely to hear the music of Group Anmataff or Mdou Moctar otherwise.

Supplementary question: do I need to? Is my world widened by easy access to whatever my eye or ear might alight on or is it diluted, my attention weakened by an excess of possibilities? Do I become dismissive of what is near at hand, increasingly avid for exotica?

We know from repeated examples across the world the vital part that mobile phones have played in rapidly developing political situations, connecting protesters to one another and the outside world, documenting abuses and victories alike. We know how valuable they can be in tracking people much was made in the recent podcast, Serial, of the limitations of the technology available to pin down someone’s location and account for their phone usage back in 1999, when the crime that was its subject was committed.

But there are times when we are also enslaved by innovation where what seems to connect us can in fact separate us – from one another and from our own lived experience, a thought that struck me on New Year’s Eve, at a few minutes to 12, when everyone in my sitting room was – albeit briefly, for they are well mannered – engaged in some or other screen-based mission.

Is a concert a concert if you don’t Instagram it? Is an untweeted thought worth a fig? If you don’t log your gym session will your cardiovascular capacity really increase? A resounding yes to all three. And here’s a question we’ve all wanted to ask: all those people chatting happily away on the way into work every the morning. It’s 8am. It’s cold. We’re all tired. Nothing’s even happened yet. So who on earth are you talking to?

See how the telephone changed the world, time and time again

From its invention 140 years ago to the selfie-packed smartphone present, CNET charts the evolution of perhaps the greatest tech of all time -- the telephone.

Since its inception 140 years ago, telephonic technology has revamped human civilisation again and again. It was the promise of fortune and fame that saw inventors in the 1870s racing to be the first to patent voice-transmission tech, but it's the power to instantly communicate with any person on Earth that has sustained the telephone's popularity, turning it from a luxury item to a necessary part of modern life.

In CNET's newest special video feature, we track the evolution of the telephone, from pioneering early experiments conducted by beard-toting inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray, to transatlantic cable and revolutionary cellular networks. You'll get a detailed look at the breakthroughs and the iconic products that have marked the telephone's merry march through time. Clear out some space in your brain for a CNET knowledge transmission, and hit play now.

The telephone's story is still being written, and we're going to hear the next chapter at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week -- an annual deluge of new smartphones and crazy mobile inventions. Bookmark that page for all the latest news, video and general wonderment from the show. Just as soon as you've been regaled with our tales of the telephone, of course.

A brief history of the smartphone

The world before smartphones was cold and unforgiving. People waited in lines for minutes on end without entertainment. Bar arguments ended in fisticuffs or someone finally exclaiming “I guess we’ll never know!” Ignoring friends and relatives at the dinner table required ingenuity and imagination.

They truly were dark times.

Jokes aside, smartphones have irrevocably changed our lives. Mobile internet access allows employees to work from anywhere, while countless apps help people file their taxes, track their spending, or simply stay in touch with old friends.

But how did our pocket computers get their start?


Discounting earlier technologies like the unreliable WWI wireless field telephone, the accepted birthday for the cellular telephone is April 3, 1973. Standing near a 900 MHz base station in midtown Manhattan, undoubtedly surrounded by bell bottom jeans and crocheted midi-dresses, Motorola employee Martin Cooper dialed the number of Bell Labs in New Jersey.

We don’t know exactly what was said on this call . We do know that Cooper used the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x , a product that wouldn’t go on sale to the public for another decade. But that call was the beginning of a mobile revolution. By 1979, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) introduced the first ever (analog) 1G phone service in Tokyo.


Although NTT gave Japanese consumers the first access to mobile phone service, it was several years before the technology moved into the mainstream worldwide. On October 13, 1983 , Ameritech Mobile Communications became the first company to launch a 1G phone network in the US, starting with Chicago. On March 13, 1984 , the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x of Cooper’s call finally went on sale—for $3,995.

The 8000x wasn’t very mobile—it weighed almost two pounds and took ten hours to charge for thirty minutes of talk time. By April 25, 1989 , the Motorola MicroTAC 9800x showcased true mobility with its (relatively) compact size and flip-up mouthpiece. Of course, they both still had antennae, and could only be used to place calls.    


Appropriately for a decade that saw the reunification of Germany and the official formation of the European Union, the first GSM call was made in 1991. The GSM standard established a common network across Europe and provided users with uninterrupted service even when they crossed borders. The first GSM phone, the Nokia 1011, which went on sale November 9, 1992, also introduced text-messaging.

And here’s where we preview the smartphone. When IBM’s Simon was released on August 16, 1994 , it was a bit early to the game. You could send email (and faxes!), sketch on its touchscreen with the included stylus, and consult the calendar, world time clock, and address book. But you couldn’t surf the web—after all, NCSA’s Mosaic browser had only appeared one year earlier and home computers were just starting to adapt. 


If the smartphone was born in the nineties, then it came of age with the millennium. NTT DoCoMo launched the first 3G network in Japan on October 1, 2001 , making videoconferencing and large email attachments possible.   

But the true smartphone revolution didn’t start until Macworld 2007, when Steve Jobs revealed the first iPhone .  Previous phones relied on keypads and could only navigate a watered-down version of the internet. The iPhone’s large touchscreen could flip through websites just like a desktop computer, all while looking sleeker than anything consumers had ever seen before.

2010s and beyond

So here we are in 2018, and worldwide use is expected to pass five billion by 2019. We use our phones for so much more than calls : dating, job-hunting, reading books, and watching movies. Maybe that’s why we’re seemingly unable to put them down for even a moment.

The 5G networks predicted for 2020 promise even faster speeds and increased bandwidth that experts think may enable life-changing technologies like real-time telemedicine, virtual reality training, and truly smart cities.

With that kind of connectivity, a smartphone might become your next (and only) work computer . Scientists are even experimenting with building a supercomputer out of smartphones .

The smartphone’s journey may not be very long, but it’s definitely going places. Nobody knows what the next Simon or iPhone will be, but we do know that whatever it is will be incredible.

Technology Development

Smartphones have changed the way Americans communicate. More than a phone, a Smartphone is considered as a handheld computer which has multiple features to run the applications. With the always on and fast internet connection, gone are the days, where people had to access the internet only at homes. A smartphone is considered as a phone which performs the functions of both camera phone and a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA).

There are many companies which provide Smartphone mobile services. Apple, Android, Windows Mobile, Palm, Blackberry and Symbian are few such applications which provide smartphone services using different platforms and different operating systems. With the introduction of iPhones from Apple, the smartphones have become affordable and being used by large number of people. There are varieties of applications available in these smartphones. The users of iPhone and Blackberry can call a Toll-free number and record memos, seeking for area code listing , scheduling appointments, etc. The software recognizes the message and sends reminder notes through IM or emails. Apart from this, iFitness, fast food calorie counter, iBreath, Memory Jogger, etc are some of the applications which can prove to be very helpful for Smartphone users.

Although the above applications found to be very helpful, Smartphones are arguably most being used for internet browsing and social networking. With 3G and 4G speed of the phones, internet speed is much faster and than in any other phones. The users can browse internet, send and receive emails at a very high speed. There is no requirement to send and receive SMS, as the users can now directly communicate with their friends and relatives using Instant Messengers like Yahoo or Gtalk. Today, more and more users are getting addicted to social networking websites like Facebook or Twitter. With the help of smartphones, the users are able to access these websites and post comment or poke friends anytime or anywhere.

The smartphones have become so popular among the Americans. As per a new report published by Ericsson Consumer Lab, almost one-third of Americans access their favorite smartphone applications like Facebook even before getting out of the bed in the morning. It is also reported that 35% of the Americans use non voice applications after waking up in the morning.

The smartphone applications have become so popular that they have become an integral part of our life. So buy a smartphone and start using the applications and always get connected to your friends anywhere and at anytime.


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